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  1. #1
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    Default Solar charge controllers with Ethernet

    Anyone give me some pointers on a solar charge controller with IP/Ethernet access? What we really need is something that has a web interface that can give us a current charge level.

    Ideally it needs to be something that can send email alerts, as that is our primary method of being informed of outages. However, all it really needs to do is have charge levels readable remotely, via IP.

  2. #2
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    I 2nd and 3rd the question.

    Our stop gap is a LCD Battery Meter that runs off 12volts, and an Ethernet webcam pointed at it. Cludgy and power hungry I think, but does allow us to log in and see the voltages remotely.

  3. #3
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    I definitely need something more elegant than that.

    Right now we're relying on an APC SmartUPS that is powering the equipment, which will tell you the current battery level. The problem with that is that a UPS is extremely, extremely power-inefficient. 8 80AH deep cycle batteries (2 banks of 4) powering only 6W of equipment barely lasted 4 days of outage.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Yes, I agree. It does let you 'see' the voltages though. At least in the daytime that is.

    I searched and was unable to find any voltage meters that does Ethernet, that is also small. All the Solar folks I talked to had the 'Cottage' systems that are Ethernet, but they are thousands, and would themselves use more power than the boards. There are ton's of small/cheap ones that connect via serial, and if StarOS could read the volatages from a Serial port, that would be a solution of sorts. However, SOMETHING must exist that is an Ethernet/TCPIP aware voltage meter???

  5. #5
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    Default

    There is a company in Canada that has a rock'n embedded Linux board that has relays, temp sensor, and I/Os on it all controlled by web interface and SNMP. It emails and has scripting for things like when the temp sensor gets to a hot temp it can have the relay kick on a fan and email you, etc.... It is based on the Axis Etrax platform. Killer board for wireless ISPs the only problem is the cost. Last I checked it was like $700.

    For the life of me I can not find their site right now.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Here is a link to "Remote Monitoring Systems" website where they have a board that will do what you want:

    http://www.remotemonitoringsystems.ca/products.php


    One of the examples is to monitor the voltage on a battery bank and use MRTG to graph the results.

    Butch
    Last edited by butchkemper; 05-06-2008 at 09:59 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default

    OK, just how many of this sort of thing do you suppose people will want. I have not been able to find anything so I have been working on one myself. Have all the stuff to prototype it, but it will need some programming in "Dynamic C". It would have wide range input voltage 9-60VDC.

    I was going to go with a Web interface, but am leaning more to SNMP to read the values, heck it could send mail directly too. I am just building the interface to a small Rabbit Ehernet module with 8 analog inputs and a couple digital outputs. Even in any quantities it will still cost in the neighborhood of $150 to make them, plus some software development.

    I was thinking along the lines of:
    1. Power Input Volts (#1) (AC/Wind/solar)
    2. Power Input Volts (#2) (AC/Wind/solar)
    3. Power Input Volts (#3) (AC/Wind/solar)
    4. Battery Voltage
    5. Battery Capacity (possibly % display based on voltage)
    6. ?
    7. ?
    8. Cabinet Temperature
    This is a project that I really must get back to, but just don't seem to have enough time.

    Perhaps if I know someone out there can do the programming, I might be more inclined to finish the hardware sooner.
    Last edited by Stratolinks; 05-06-2008 at 10:28 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default

    The "RMS" boards look very cool but are pretty expensive. The super important thing I want out of an expensive device like that is the pinging of a remote IP and then the automatic power-cycling if it can't ping. It looks like the RMS1 can't do that and the RMS2 can. At $700/each it's really hard to justify the purchase of very many of them.
    StarOS Community Wiki: http://staros.tog.net/

  10. #10
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    If you really want a ping watchdog reboot device, take a look at the DINrelay from Digital-Loggers. $150.00 Has 8 relays, 8-24V power supply.

    Quote Originally Posted by tog View Post
    The "RMS" boards look very cool but are pretty expensive. The super important thing I want out of an expensive device like that is the pinging of a remote IP and then the automatic power-cycling if it can't ping. It looks like the RMS1 can't do that and the RMS2 can. At $700/each it's really hard to justify the purchase of very many of them.

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